2010 NOVEMBER 1-7 PRAYER AGENDA FOR THE NATIONS
In the United States we have a holiday this month called Thanksgiving that was started around 1621 as a religious holiday in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It is a time of gathering with family and friends and celebrating the harvest and God’s goodness throughout the year. Several other nations have a similar holiday that is a time of both reflection and thanksgiving.
As we pray for the nations this month let us thank God for the release of His mercies and grace to those who have yet to acknowledge Him as Lord of the whole earth.
We continue to pray for Haiti as they still fight to recover from the devastating earthquake in January, now complicated by an outbreak of cholera. We also pray for the nation of Indonesia that has experienced another earthquake, tsunami and eruptions of the volcano Mount Merapi. Let us not get weary in our prayers but to continue to trust the promises of God to cover the earth with His glory!
1. TIMOR LOROSAE: The capital city of Timor Lorosae (formerly East Timor) is Dili. Most of the people of Timor Lorosae are Roman Catholics. Timor Lorosae was annexed by Indonesia in December 7, 1975 and became the 27th province of Republic of Indonesia until October 1999. Before that, Timor Lorosae was colonized by Portuguese for 400 years. After President Suharto was forced to resign, the next president, B.J. Habibie, allowed the people of Timor Lorosae to vote. On August 30, 1999, more than 78% of them chose independence. However, following the vote, the Indonesian military and their militias killed thousands people, towns, houses, and other infrastructures were burnt. More than a quarter million people were taken forcibly to West Timor, Indonesia, and lived in refuge camps.
Pray for this nation to experience a Move of God.
The whole body of Christ in Togo is beginning to unite in common vision for reaching every part of their land – and beyond. Pray for barriers of mistrust and denominationalism to be broken down and for a Great Commission movement to be firmly established. A national survey of the unfinished task was under way by 2001 on behalf of many evangelical churches and agencies with the help of SIL.
Pray for its successful conclusion and results that lead to church planting among these peoples.
Christian media ministries that need prayer are:
a) Christian literature is in great demand. Pray for the ministry of both the well-used CLC bookstore and of The Bible Society in distributing Scripture. The latter has a successful ‘Faith Comes by Hearing’ program of cassette tapes of Bible readings for pre-literates which has enhanced desires both for literacy and for the printed Scriptures.
b) GRN have produced materials in 32 languages.
c) EHC has launched an ongoing nation-wide coverage. After 800,000 booklets had been distributed response was so significant that 349 Christ groups were started by 1999.
d) Christian radio – local stations broadcast Christian programmes; there is also one well-acclaimed Christian radio station in Lomé. A national Christian television channel opened in 2001.
e) The JESUS film has been shown extensively in film and on TV in seven languages. A further nine language versions are in preparation.
3. TONGA: The Tongan Church has had a glorious history of missionary outreach, but for decades the vision has languished. Over the last ten years there has been renewed interest with evangelical Christians forming a group to promote a missions vision. YWAM‘s University of the Nations has a branch in Tonga with a specific burden to encourage this.
Pray that good intentions may become Kingdom-advancing action.
The growing Chinese community is the only unreached people group, some immigrating from Hong Kong and China.
Pray for an outreach among this group of people.
3. TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Inter-ethnic harmony has been hindered by political parties aligned according to race and the activities of several extremist minorities among Muslims, Hindus and some ‘Christians’.
Pray that the government may be impartial and fair to all ethnic groups.
The Church is one of the only structures that has bridges to every Trinidadian community. Most of the Afro-, Euro-Trinidadian and Chinese, and over 20% of the Indian population, are professing Christians.
Pray for revival in the churches that will ignite the communities.
The Christian Church is very fragmented – between traditional and newer denominations and a growing multiplicity of Indian and Black-led charismatic and Pentecostal ministries. There is little cohesion with common spiritual goals, outreach or missions involvement. There is a lack of national vision and purpose and many ‘Christian’ families are dysfunctional.
Pray for revival to enliven and empower the Church.
4. TUNISIA: In earlier centuries the Christian Church was widespread, producing such leaders as Tertullian and Cyprian. Schism, heresy, a failure to put roots deep in the local culture or translate the Bible into local languages, foreign invasions and finally Islam, brought about its demise. There are about 200 committed indigenous believers today; but about half that number meet together regularly for worship.
Pray that a living, growing Church might become a reality again in this land
Tunisia is the one of the most progressive and open societies in the Arab world. While the outward trappings of Islam are obvious, most people are more committed to secular dreams of wealth.
Pray that the emptiness of religious posturing, spiritual apathy, and materialism might be exposed and replaced with spiritual hunger for Jesus.
There are a number of new believers and new church groups that have come into being over the past few years. Pray for their continued growth and discipleship. However, the Church is still a tiny proportion of the total population. Some are isolated, fearful, with very limited opportunities for fellowship and discipling. To some, emigration is an easy option; pray that God may give them a vision of the Church He wants to build through them.
Pray for lasting commitment to Jesus, as few Tunisian believers have stood in the faith for more than 10 years.
Pray for safety, encouragement, integration into the Body and boldness amongst the increasing numbers of new believers; – many have a vision for evangelism.
5-7. TURKEY: Turkey is a nation torn in opposite directions. It straddles Europe and Asia; some strive to bring the country into the EU, others to strengthen ties with Muslim states to the south and east. The constitution, judiciary and army are secular and uphold religious freedom, but many politicians, the police and the growing Islamist movement are hostile to anything Christian.
Pray that all attempts to restrict religious freedom may be frustrated, and that ambiguities in the law may be clarified – it is the latter that open the way for mis-treatment of Christians.
The ancient churches survived until the beginning of the 20th Century, but since then have been decimated by massacres (Armenians), severe persecution (Assyrians) and emigration (Greeks, etc.). Their numbers have been reduced to an estimated 138,000 in 12 different traditions.
Pray for the remnant that survives – for re-kindling of faith and for a work of the Holy Spirit
Pray for these Other specific unreached peoples and areas that abound in this nation:
a) A living, growing fellowship of believers in each of the 80 provinces – 56 of them have no Christian workers or groups. Especially needing prayer are the turbulent eastern Anatolian provinces (largely Kurdish) and the Black Sea coast (many Laz).
b) University students. There are 1.4 million students in 817 universities and colleges, but there is very little specific campus ministry apart from Izmir, though a number of students have come to the Lord.
c) Children. They are difficult to reach. The problem of street children is growing in Istanbul and Izmir. A Turkish children’s Bible was published recently. Camp ministry has been effective (Kuçak).
d) The ethnic Muslim minorities and Central Asian refugee communities. None of these peoples have been evangelized; many live in their own communities, though use of their languages is declining.
e) Iranian refugees who have fled the violence and Islamic extremism of the 1979 Revolution. Over 560,000 still remain in Turkey – many in Istanbul, while many others have moved on to Western countries. There has been a response to the gospel in Istanbul and Ankara and small Persian-speaking congregations have been established with possibly 50 believers in 2000.
May you be encouraged to believe for great things from our God.
Lane M. Holland, M.Div.
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